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Q1: Priorities

ISOC has a broad and large membership, with healthy debate regarding the priorities for the organization as a whole and on approaches/practices. What do you believe the priorities should be for the organization? What would you suggest the Board and Management do to bring about an agreed position?

This entry was posted by the ISOC Elections Committee on Friday, March 5th, 2010 at 10:13 am. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 or Atom 1.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

9 Responses to “Q1: Priorities”

  1. Comment by: Eva Frolich   
    March 10th, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    Secure financial stability and thereby secure longterm surviving.

    ISOC is hugely dependent on one income source as of today – what happens if that source is taken away?

    Global support for ISOC is also important to ensure longterm survival and stability. Support is something you earn and cannot be taken for granted. Therefore it´s important to listen to those who use Internet, who will be using it in the future and understand their needs and then work them into policy.

  2. Comment by: Eduardo Diaz   
    March 12th, 2010 at 3:52 am

    [EN] Priorities should be guided ISOC’s mission, core values and global membership. The strategies of providing Internet training to people around the world, upholding and defending ISOC’s mission and core values in all public policy forums, and supporting standard activities to assure the development of the Internet in years to come should be the starting point for all endeavors.

    The Board and Management should actively consult these priorities with, and encourage debate among, its membership and stockholder base in a clear and concise way and use the feedback to develop a common base and action plan.


    [ES] Las prioridades deben ser guiadas por la misión de ISOC, sus valores y su membresía global. Las estrategias para proveer entrenamiento sobre Internet a todas las personas del mundo, defender la misión de la ISOC y sus valores fundamentales en todos los foros de política pública, y apoyar el desarrollo de los estándars para asegurar el desarrollo de Internet en los próximos años, deberían ser el punto de partida de todos los esfuerzos.

    La Junta y su Gerencia deben consultar a la membresía sobre estas prioridades de una manera clara y consisa, fomentando el debate entre estos y utilizando la información para desarrollar una base común y establecer un plan de acción.

  3. Comment by: Michael Nelson   
    March 12th, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    The Internet Society is a unique organization that has played a critical role in shaping the Internet–and it is needed today more than ever. The bottom-up nature of the Internet Society and the IETF is one reason the Internet has continued to evolve and expand so rapidly and why the Internet has been such a powerful platform for innovation.

    In many ways, the Internet Society and the IETF have been examples of “leaderless organizations” (as described in the book “The Starfish and the Spider”). They have provided a place for really smart people to come together, share and refine ideas for improving the Internet, and then use their personal networks to spread and implement those ideas around the world.

    The first priority of ISOC should be to continue to support the forums and networks that enable new standards, projects, business practices, and policy recommendations to be developed and debated. Often, the members of ISOC will not all agree on the best approach to a particular problem–and that’s okay. The key is enabling informed debate about possible solutions.

  4. Comment by: Andy Linton   
    March 13th, 2010 at 4:28 am

    I’m comfortable with the three long term Strategic Initiatives that ISOC has currently identified: Trust and Identity, InterNetWorks and Enabling Access as broad categories for action over the next three years.

    An organization that has a large proportion of its membership and its Board of Trustees from the industrialized countries such as those in North America and Europe faces the challenge of being relevant to Internet users everywhere. The issues that concern an Internet user on a remote Pacific island or in rural Africa or India are quite different from those facing a city dweller in Los Angeles or Paris.

    We need to develop our regional structures so that ISOC can empower people to think globally and act locally when that’s what’s needed but also be able to speak with a unified voice when that’s appropriate too.

  5. Comment by:   
    March 15th, 2010 at 1:07 am

    ISOC needs to preserve its status as the pre-eminent group for Internet information and operation. To do this it needs to maintain both its organisational strength and the confidence of its membership.

    While the issues may vary across the world, the core issues of accessibility, affordability and reliability remain. ISOC is the only group that can span the technological, individual and social aspects of Internet operation, and do so competently across the globe.

    We must continue to empower Internet users to participate in the process of making the Internet work. This can only be done through empowering the membership and increasing our engagement across the community. Supporting chapters, supporting the various forums we run, and participating openly and widely in Internet debate – both on- and off-line. We want the next generation of kids – whether they come from Africa, Asia or anywhere – to know they can actually contribute to making the standards that make the Internet work!

    At the same time we must ensure our organisation remains strong through strong financial and operating processes. We must be effective, and we must ensure the Chapters are effective. One of the best ways is to build and preserve links between strong chapters and younger ones. This is something we have worked on in ISOC-AU and I hope to extend that more broadly,

  6. Comment by: Hiroshi Esaki   
    March 16th, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    Role of ISOC for the global information system development/deployment in the next decade. It is not only the technical matter, but is also other aspects, e.g., policy, governments and others, will strongly affect.

    We will not be able to say that “always the common pool is the way to take”. We must take a best way to create new service and new business, that will be fully deployed over the globe afterwards.

  7. Comment by: Leonard St-Aubin   
    March 18th, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    Through the IETF, ISOC is firmly grounded in Internet technology and standards. But its vision “the Internet is for everyone” is much broader. This broad vision is reflected in ISOC’s wide range of educational, policy and advocacy initiatives. This complementary set of roles and expertise makes ISOC uniquely situated to be the global “source of authoritative, unbiased information about the Internet” it aspires to be.

    In its 2010-12 Business Plan, ISOC has done a good job of identifying priorities and means to address them within available resources. Its three “strategic initiatives” (trust, internetworking and access) reflect key challenges for the Internet (see Q2 below).

    Consistent with ISOC’s vision, I see “access” as the overriding priority because it is people using the Internet that drive its growth. But as with other transformative technologies (like electricity), Internet technology has become invisible to users: most are unaware of the protocols, standards, servers and transport media that make the Internet work. ISOC and IETF therefore play crucial roles in fostering open development of standards, education and advocacy. Left to their own devices, market forces could undermine the openness which has made the Internet so transformative. So ISOC’s goals are co-dependent: openness drives access and use; access and use drive growth and impact.

    I was therefore pleased to see increased emphasis on outreach and advocacy and more involvement of Chapters and members in the 2010-12 Plan. ISOC’s light has not exactly been “hidden under a barrel”, but ISOC is not as well-known as it should be outside the United States and the “Internet community”. These activities are central to achieving ISOC’s vision and also its goal of being seen to be an authoritative, unbiased resource.

    These activities should include: education on technical, policy and access issues; engagement in global discussions on Internet policy and governance; promoting global Internet access and use; promoting freedom of communication; and speaking out on policies and practices that unduly limit access, confer undue preference or create undue discrimination among users. This is consistent with ISOC’s user-centric Internet White Paper, which states: “Whatever the future of commercial offerings and network architecture, how the Internet user will benefit and how user-centricity will be preserved should be the yardstick by which they are measured.”

    With respect to achieving consensus, broadly based, participatory governance is the only means consistent with Internet tradition and practice. This takes time and effort, but it is central to legitimacy. ISOC is following this model. Its efforts to more fully engage chapters and members are timely and necessary.

  8. Comment by: Richard Woundy   
    March 26th, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    With regards to getting alignment on ISOC priorities, I would start with a focus on the current Strategic Initiatives (Trust and Identity, InterNetworks, and Enabling Access) and Strategic Objectives from the ISOC 2010-2012 Business Plan. In particular, for a global organization with a diverse membership, it is important to have consistency in its high-level priorities; if the priorities are constantly churning, it will be difficult to rally the membership around ISOC’s causes, and it will cause ISOC’s staff to become unproductive and discouraged. Many programs like Enabling Access will require multi-year commitments to yield value.

    There are many ways to accomplish ISOC’s priorities in different geographies. In North America, there is the US debate on the National Broadband Plan and Open Internet. In Europe there is an important discussion about ACTA negotiations and the French Hadopi proposals, for example. As issues concerning the Internet become increasingly part of the public debate, it will be important to be able to delegate ‘local policies’ as much as possible to the chapters and the new regional bureaus, although it is also important to ensure that the ‘local policies’ do not conflict with the ISOC mission and its ‘global policies’.

    Going forward over the next few years, ISOC should obtain member feedback (individual and organizational) to the Strategic Initiatives and Strategic Objectives. My first thought is: Let’s use the Internet! Consider the example of, which was a blogging site used to provide input on priorities to the incoming Obama administration back in late 2008. While gathered ideas for priorities and then counted votes, for ISOC I would use the blog to gather from responders the importance of the priority as well as any commitment to participate actively on the topic.

  9. Comment by: Lawrence Lessig   
    April 1st, 2010 at 8:07 am

    The single most important lesson about the Internet’s extraordinary growth is that open, neutral networks work — not just technically, but economically and culturally as well. ISOC’s purpose should be to pursue its long term strategic interests — for Trust and Identity, InterNetWorks and Enabling Access — in a way that remains consistent with these founding values.

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